When a Modular Home Building Lot Isn’t Buildable

I discovered just how difficult it can be to judge whether a modular home building lot has “wetlands” when customers of mine, a young married couple, bought a piece of open farmland that was covered by what appeared to be grasses.

A Real Life Lesson about a Modular Home Building Lot That Wasn’t

A for sale sign on a modular home building lot
Find out if you really can build on a property before purchasing it

My customers bought the lot in midsummer with plans to build the following year. The property was on a main road and came with municipal water and sewer, so it did not require septic approval and no one thought it necessary to do any exploratory digging. Because my customers had cash, they closed on the property as soon as their attorney completed the title search.

When they applied for a building permit the following spring, the building inspector told them that they needed to get the approval of the town conservation committee. The committee scheduled a meeting at the property in early April. To my customers’ surprise, there was standing water several places on the property. Even more surprising was the committee’s determination that the property was a protected wetlands and could not be built on. The committee emphasized that even if there was no water on the property, the vegetation made it a protected wetlands. In the end, the only use my customers had for the property was to graze animals. Given that they paid $45,000 for it, this was a devastating mistake.

Before Purchasing a Modular Home Building Lot, Make Absolutely Sure You Can Build on It

Unless you will be happy using a piece of land to raise cows rather than build a home, find out if you really can build on a property before purchasing it. Most importantly, do not take it upon yourself to make this determination. Consult with the proper local authorities.

To learn more about when a modular home building lot isn’t buildable, see Finding and Preparing a Building Lot for a Modular Home in my book The Modular Home.

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